Monday
Dec
2013
02

Four Killer “Cyber Monday” Deals (and our Cyber Monday Deal-Watch Broadcasts)

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments

OK gang, we’re doing it again this year: We’re going to scour the Web to help you find everybody else’s killer Cyber Monday deals on Photography and Photoshop Stuff:

It’s just a quick five-minute broadcast from the gang at the top of every hour starting at 10:00 AM ET Today!!! (and only for today, Cyber Monday!)

This was a huge hit last year (our first time trying this idea), but it succeeded thanks to your help spreading the word via Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, etc.? and if you could do that again this year, that would be awesome! Also, there are just so many great deals out there we can’t keep up with them all, so if you find a really great deal and you want us to share it, leave me a comment right here (make sure you include a link to the deal).

In the meantime, here’s our Cyber Monday Killer Deals (these end at midnight tonight):

DEAL #1: Save $40 on our kick-butt Online Training for photographers
You get it all —- unlimited access to all our online training courses for an entire year (literally hundreds of classes by the best teachers anywhere) for just $159 for a full year. Here’s the link. 

http://youtu.be/zLC06AAMZ3g
DEAL #2: One Month Full-Access to our Online Training: just $14.95
An entire month, including our acclaimed “Beginners Start Here” program (check out the short video clip above). Plus, all access to hundreds of full-length classes. Thousands of lessons. All at nearly 40% off. We’re nut to offer it this low. That’s true, but it’s just for today (well, it ends today). Here’s the link
DEAL #3: $10 Off Any of Our Live Seminar Tours (McNally, Matt, RC or Me)
Come spend a day live with Joe McNally learning hot shoe flash, or Matt Kloskowski learning Lightroom. How about a day with RC Concepcion learning “Photoshop for Photographers” or with me on my “Shoot Like a Pro” Tour? Well, now it’s even more of a bargain with $10 off. Here’s the link
DEAL #4: Save up to $250 on the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (coming to Atlanta in April)
It’s our first time ever in Atlanta, and we want you to share in the most amazing Photoshop, Design & Photography live learning experience on the planet, so we’re giving you up to $250 off a full conference pass. Today it’s only $449 (reg: $699) and that is an absolutely killer deal! Here’s the link. 
DON’T FORGET:
Come join us every hour, on the hour, as we uncover the Web’s hottest Cyber-Monday deals on our Cyber Monday Deal Watch. It’s going to be (wait for it…wait for it….) epic! :)
Happy shopping everybody!
Friday
Nov
2013
29

Our Cyber-Monday Deals Start Today

by Scott Kelby  |  14 Comments

Just a reminder…we have a ton of crazy deals going on today through Monday, December 2nd!

Check out everything below to score huge savings on KelbyTraining.com,(our renown online training classes for photographers) NAPP (the world’s best Photoshop and Lightroom training) and Photoshop World (our annual 3-day Photoshop training conference, sponsored by Adobe) at our lowest prices of the year:

Check out the free  video above with sample clips from just a few of our online training classes for photographers.

Hope you take advantage of some of these deals (or all of them if you’re loose with money). We’d love to have you on board with us for 2014 because we have some absolutely amazing things happening for our members this coming year and we really want you to be a part of it.

Happy shopping everybody! :)

-Scott

P.S. On Monday, once again this year, we’ll be doing broadcasts EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR with cool deals we’ve found for photographers and designers from other companies all over Web, so on Monday, hit this link to watch our hourly broadcasts  We did this last year and it was a huge hit because we really uncovered some amazing deals out there, so make sure you join us. 

Thursday
Nov
2013
28

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

Today in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving; a national holiday where we give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy (and I truly feel like the most blessed guy on earth). Traditionally this is a day  where families come together to eat a Thanksgiving turkey feast, and then we watch football until we pass out. It’s just about a perfect day. :-)

Our offices are closed today for Thanksgiving, but I’ll be back here tomorrow with some insane deals on all our stuff in honor of the biggest shopping day of the year (known as Black Friday).

In the meantime, please enjoy the stock image above (nothing brings the warmth, togetherness, and joy of Thanksgiving together like a woodcut stock image with customized type).

In all seriousness, here’s wishing you and your family a joyous, happy, and yummy Thanksgiving. :-)

All my best,

-Scott

Wednesday
Nov
2013
27

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Randy Van Duinen!

by Brad Moore  |  20 Comments

I want to thank Scott and Brad for allowing me the opportunity to be the guest blogger and share some of my experiences with you. I am primarily an architectural and landscape photographer and love shooting both for different reasons. While landscape photography is a more personal art form, architectural photography is a collaborative project. Most of my clients are builders, architects or interior designers; my job is to convey their design in the best possible light and to showcase how their clients will utilize that space or building.

Here are a few tips to successful architectural photography:

Determine Photography Scope
Ask questions to find out what their photography needs are and how they will be using the final images. They usually want every aspect of their project photographed until you inform them of how many days that will take and the cost to accomplish it. After a few minutes of silence you will hear the words “I don’t think we need to do that many photos.” This is when they start to focus on the most important aspects of the project that need to be captured.

Visit The Job Site Before The Shoot
One of the most important steps, if at all possible, is to meet the client at the job site before the photography shoot date. This will allow you and the client to determine the rooms and angles that will be photographed, decide what time of day will provide the best light, how many assistants are needed, discuss styling, and get all the contact information for the building. I also send my clients a link to my website that has a pre-shoot checklist for them to go over and make sure they have everything they need.

Use A Tripod
If you think you can hand hold your camera and capture sharp images with a straight horizon, you’re kidding yourself. Architectural photography is about keeping the perspective of the building correct. A lot of the newer DSLR cameras have built-in levels and if your camera does not, you can buy a level for around $30 that will slip onto your camera’s hot shoe.

Put Yourself In The Corner
Very rarely will you photograph a room straight on as this will not give the room any dimension and will flatten it out. By placing yourself in a corner, you will give the room or building more depth and interest.

Don’t Put Yourself In A Corner (I know what I just said.)
There are some situations where photographing your subject straight on will make sense: when the subject is very symmetrical. When it happens, and it is rarer than you might think, it can be a very strong and compelling image.

Photograph At Twilight Or Night
Having a well-done twilight exterior in your portfolio will get you work, no question about that. They are very powerful photos that your clients will want and pay more for. If you are photographing only interiors, one of your setups should be at twilight when the color temperature of both interior and exterior are the same. There is only about a 20 minute window when this happens and you need to have your lighting ready for it.

Photograph Using Tungsten Lights
With tungsten lighting, you will have more control than you do with strobe lighting. Tungsten will give you a completely different look than most other photographers who just use strobes. The bad part of using tungsten lights is that you will be working late into the night, but it’s worth it.

Water Down Sidewalks And Driveways
This is especially important for residential photography and less crucial for commercial buildings. If you don’t water down sidewalks and driveways, they become the brightest elements in your image; by watering them down they become dark and create a reflection of the building and is an added benefit.

Don’t Overuse HDR
I am asked all the time about how much HDR photography I use in my photos. The answer is as little as possible! Digital cameras do a great job of capturing a lot of information and post-processing in Adobe Lightroom can usually get what is needed. You should bracket all shots in case you need to use HDR or pull parts from different exposures to get what you need for the final image.

Use A Color Target
The correct color is essential for architects and interior designers and you better capture it for them or you will do a lot of post-processing over again. If you tether your camera to the computer, you can white balance the photo with the client right there and get their input on color and/or any problems that will have to be corrected on post-processing.

Look For The Little Things
With all that is going on with lights, clients, assistants, make sure you look for the small thing that can ruin a good photograph. It can be a pillow out of place, a cabinet door ajar, or a footprint in the middle of your shot because of carpeting that was not brushed. Have the rest of the crew look at the computer and see if they can find anything you may have missed.

Use A Tilt/Shift Lens
If you have one, it is a great lens that was made for architectural photography; if you don’t have one, you might want to rent one and try it out. There are many places you can rent them from and the lens I would recommend is the 24mm tilt/shift. This is a very good lens for interior photography which will allow you to make rooms look larger than they are and you will have less post production than if you shot the same room with standard lens.

One of the good things about architectural photography is that it’s not a moving subject and a building is not going to have an attitude or show up late. I have always had a love of architecture and photography and making a living with the two things I enjoy is a dream come true. I hope some of these tips will help the next time you are photographing a building or interior.

Randy Van Duinen is an architectural photographer in St. Petersburg, FL and works with The Digital Photo Workshops. You can follow Randy on Google+ and Facebook. His blog at StudioPhotoshop.com is where he talks about anything photography and Photoshop related. Randy has been a contributor to Light It Magazine and speaks around the country about Lightroom, HDR and architectural photography.

Tuesday
Nov
2013
26

Sneak Peek Cyber Weekend!

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

Check out the deals dropping Black Friday through Cyber Monday from KelbyTraining. It’s the lowest prices of the year on photography training from the world’s best photographers – myself included! From one creative to another, it’s the perfect gift for all the right-brainers on your holiday list. And with these prices, you can cross off a little something extra for yourself too. Preview the Cyber Weekend sale here.

Tuesday
Nov
2013
26

My 8th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

Welcome to my “8th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide.” If you’ve been a faithful reader of this Gear Guide for the past seven years, this year’s name probably sounds familiar, and that’s because it is. It’s the original name for this Gear Guide, and I’m bringing it back with a vengeance (I’m not really sure how to make a Gear Guide vengeful but I’m working on it), with all of its original “Gonzoness” (yes, that’s a word, I’m pretty sure).

This is replacing last year’s “Awesome Gear Guide” name (awesome is way overused—mostly by me), and now here you are, reading it right now. How “in the moment” is that, right? Okay, this year, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

1: Stocking Stuffers (You can also use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.)
2: Great Value Gear (Stuff that’s a really good deal for not a lot of money, but he or she will totally dig it.)
3: Cha-ching! (Stuff you buy for the doctor/lawyer/rap mogul on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.)

Anyway, the “Awesome” is out, the “Gonzo” is back, and this year’s Gear Guide is packed with some really cool stuff that we don’t need, but we really, really, really want because getting (ahem—I mean giving) is what it’s really all about. At least, that’s what I read in a Christmas card once.

THE RULES:

These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It’s just two rules, actually. To be listed here the products have to be ones that I use myself, that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to). And if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend were a rich doctor (kidding). Okay, folks, hang on to your Fruchtsaftgetränke, here we go!

STOCKING STUFFERS


20×24″ Rosco CTO Gel Sheet

If the photographer on your gift list has a flash, this is a perfect gift because it’s something he needs but probably doesn’t have, and it’s cheap as anything. Get him a big sheet of thin orange gel. He tapes it over his flash head and it warms up the color of the flash, creating a more flattering color for portraits. Get the Rosco CTO (Color Temperature Orange) 1/4 sheets for just $6.49 a sheet at B&H. Do you want to really splurge on him? Throw in the 1/2-cut and full-cut sheets, as well. If he doesn’t like cutting, get the Rosco precut Strobist pack for just $7.95 with gels in all sorts of colors. A fantastic deal.

Roll of Gaffer’s Tape

If he already has some gels, get him a roll over Gaffer’s tape. This is the handiest stuff on earth for photographers (I even give away a few rolls at my seminar—I’m not making this up). It looks like black duct tape, but it comes off clean with no residue or pulling off any paint. It rocks. $6.50 a roll. Buy two (and keep one for yourself).

30″ Westcott 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector/Diffuser

He probably already has a reflector, but that’s okay—what you want is the diffuser inside the reflector (you zip it open and there it is). You use this outdoors to turn harsh, direct sun into beautiful, soft, flattering light (just put it between the sun and your subject). Around $30. Plus, you could keep the reflectors and just give him the diffuser. I’m just sayin’.

Lightroom Magazine

Does the photographer on your gift list use Lightroom? Of course she does! So get her a few issues of Lightroom Magazine. (I love this magazine because—because, well, I’m the publisher, but it’s an awesome, awesome magazine. This is a case where using the term awesome, and using it twice, is perfectly acceptable.) You can find it on the App Store on iTunes for $4.99 an issue. Cheap. If you really want to go all out, go ahead and buy her all the back issues.

Some Cool Books

Your photographer will love Zack Arias’s Photography Q&A book (only $18.20 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble). Or how about the recent refresh of The Digital Photography Book, Part 2 by Scott Kelby (I love everything he writes) for $18.23 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (weird price; cool book)! If he’s into sports, get Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography ($31.86 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $35.77), or if you want to splurge a little, get Frank Doorhof’s Mastering the Model Shoot for around $28.45 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $28.96(I worked on this book with Frank—he totally rocked it!). Note: Book prices on online change frequently. Just so ya know.

GREAT VALUE GEAR


Vanguard Quovio 49T Rolling Bag

If you want a rolling camera bag with Think Tank Photo quality, but can’t quite swing it, then check out the Vanguard Quovio 49T. It holds a lot of gear (and your laptop), and it holds it all well. I’ve taken it on a few trips now and I really like how it’s made and its usability. Lots of clever little features and great overall design.

DxO FilmPack 4

This is probably the best plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom out there for faithfully reproducing classic film effects, and it totally nails these effects. It has a great interface with a smart design, and you can’t argue with the realistic looks it effortlessly creates, but you can still tweak each look big time. Plus, it does everything from contrast effects to borders and custom frames. I don’t use a whole bunch of plug-ins, but when I want a realistic film look, this is the only plug-in I reach for (and by reach, I mean I just go under a menu).

Imagenomic’s Portraiture Skin Retouching Plug-in

The incredible Frank Doorhof turned me on to this plug-in when I asked him how he was retouching skin in his portraits, because his stuff was really looking good. I had to pry it out of him a bit (LOL!), but as soon as he told me, I went straight to Imagenomic’s site and picked up a copy. Pretty darn amazing; pretty darn fast. It’s $199.95, which ain’t cheap, but the wedding or portrait photographer on your list will hug you and not let go for a good long while.

Westcott’s Rapid Box 20″ Octa Mini and Deflector Plate

This is, hands-down, the best beauty dish for hot-shoe flash I’ve ever seen. Plus, it pops up and you’re ready to go, so it fits with the whole run-and-gun portability behind hot-shoe flashes. Very well made and thought out. I use the 20″ Octa Mini ($169.90), but you’ll need the Rapid Box Deflector Plate for another $19.90 (that’s what gives you the beauty dish look). She will be super-diggin’ this.

Kata LPS-216 DL Laptop Backpack

I generally don’t like backpacks (I use rolling bags instead), but what I love about this one is that it’s not big and bulky, yet it still holds a lot of gear and my laptop. Plus, the interior is bright yellow, so you can actually find stuff. It’s really well made and only $109.99, which makes it my favorite photo gear backpack ever!

Squarespace.com

Every photographer, designer, and illustrator needs a portfolio, and Squarespace.com has a killer deal on them with very slick professional templates. With Squarespace, you can have a very cool-looking online portfolio up and running in about 15 minutes with absolutely no Web design experience necessary. I use Squarespace for my sports photography portfolio and absolutely love them! They start at around $10 a month (but you’ll get your photographer a full year for $96). You’ll be a hero.

Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 (Four-Bay USB 3 Reader Hub)

You know what photographers hate? They hate waiting for their cards to download to their computer. That’s why this baby was born. Well that, and the fact that a lot of cameras these days have more than one memory card slot, and often those are two different types (like an SD card and a CompactFlash, or a CompactFlash and an XQD card). With this, you buy the docking bay ($99.99) and then up to four readers that pop right in, in any format you want (SD, CF, or XQD) starting at $36.99 each. I love this. Big time.

Yongnuo YN560-III Hot-Shoe Flash

If you want her to think you spent a bundle, which will lead to you getting “Most Favored Friend” status for all of 2014, get her a Yongnuo hot-shoe flash. It’s only $70 but looks like it cost $600. It creates a bright flash of light (just like every other flash), but without the high price of about every other flash.

Impact Quickbox Softbox Kit

B&H Photo put this kit together and for the money, I don’t know how you can beat it. It’s a 24×24″ collapsible pop-up softbox, a tilt-swivel bracket, a bracket that holds your flash and the softbox, and a 8′ light stand, all for $149. It’s hero time.

FP-1 Floor Plate for Using Remote Cameras

If you’ve ever thought about using a remote camera (like a camera set up behind the bride or on the balcony, or for sports), this floor plate is fantastic! I use these for sports and absolutely love ’em. They’re very strong, yet surprisingly lightweight, and they’re designed to work with just about any ballhead and PocketWizard remote. Incredibly handy for only $65.

B&H Gift Cards

Not sure exactly what to get her? Yes you do. Get her a B&H Gift Card. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want something from the greatest photo store on earth, plus this way she can get whatever she wants (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course). You can order them direct from the B&H site. They send a card and a catalog so it looks pretty substantial.

PocketWizard PlusX Wireless Transceiver

PocketWizard has always been the gold standard in wireless triggers for flash or even for firing remote cameras, but the best is always expensive. But this year, they came out with a new budget-priced model for only $99 each (you need two—one for your camera and one for your flash), called the PlusX, and it has the ruggedness, range, and quality without the high price. They’re simple and they work. If you can’t swing the $198, try Cactus triggers instead (two for $60). Not the same quality, build, design, or range, but it’s not the same price either.

Canon Close-up Lens Filter (for Canon or NIKKOR)

Get him this screw-on lens filter that turns most any Canon or NIKKOR lens into a Macro lens for close-up photography. It’s small (only about 1″ thick), screws on just like a filter, and violá, you have a macro lens that you can toss into any camera bag (perfect for wedding photographers). They start at around $72 and go up to around $150, based on how wide his lens is (in millimeters).

CHA-CHING!


Westcott SkyLux LED

What’s the next big wave in lighting? LED continuous lighting (it’s not a flash, so what you see is what you get). Video creatives have long-embraced LEDs but now they’re finally (finally!) making their way to still photography. Westcott’s SkyLux is really fantastic, and even though it’s here in “Cha-ching Land” at around $1,200, it’s one of the cheapest LED solutions out there. Plus, Westcott makes a ton of softboxes that fit right on it. This is where lighting is going. You can take someone special there now, this holiday season, and he will love you like a puppy without all the yipping (well, some yipping but it ends after a few weeks).

Canon EOS 70D

I got a chance to use the Canon EOS 70D on a few studio shoots and events, and I have to say this camera body may be the best deal of anything on the list, value-wise (well, maybe beside the $6.49 sheets of Rosco gel). It has features way beyond its price, and if the photographer on your gift list has any ideas about shooting DSLR video, he’ll lose his mind over this puppy! Did I mention it has a touchscreen, and that you can pinch to zoom and flick to scroll through your photos, and it’s responsive like a smartphone touchscreen. I remember when Nikon released the D700 a few years back and we all thought, “What was Nikon thinking? It’s too good a deal.” I feel the same way about the 70D. Pro-quality images with many pro features, but they pretend it’s for consumers.

PrioLite MBX500 500 W/s Monolight

This is a serious studio strobe that lets you use studio strobes on location. That’s not new; there are a bunch of strobes that you can take out in the field using a battery pack that slings over your shoulder. The difference here is that there’s no battery pack to sling over your shoulder. The pack is built right into the strobe itself. There’s no cable. There’s no battery pack. It’s just the light. It’s awesome! But it ain’t cheap. They’re $1,479 each. Definitely for pros or for the Wall Street crony on your holiday gift list.

AF-S NIKKOR 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR or Tamron 28–300mm f/3.5–6.3 XR Di VC


The AF-S NIKKOR 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR is my all-time favorite travel photography lens because it’s one lens that does it all—from wide-angle to portrait lengths to a tight zoom. Plus, this particular lens is amazingly sharp, lightweight, and very well built. It’s not cheap at $1,049.95, but it’s worth it. Give her this as a holiday gift and you may not be able to get rid of her. A perfect gift for someone you’re stalking.
If the photographer on your list is a Canon shooter, unfortunately Canon doesn’t make a compact 28–300mm like this Nikon model. (The Canon version is full size, quite heavy, and expensive at an MSRP of $2,689.) Tamron makes a 28–300mm f/3.5–6.3 XR Di VC that will do the trick. It’s not as sharp as the Nikon 28–300mm or the Canon for that matter, but it’s not nearly as expensive either at around $630.
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